Paul got his grandson a Lenovo laptop five years ago, and now it's time to get him a new one. Leo says that Lenovos are still good. Leo says that the ThinkPads are better than the Flexpad though. Far more robust. Leo likes the X1 Nano. Super Thin and light, but very powerful. But if on a budget, the Thinkpad T series certainly can do the job. It isn't a sexy design, but definitely functional. Make sure to get at least 16GB of RAM and a larger hard drive!
Jimmy wants to know if you can use a TV as a computer monitor. Leo says you can, but the sharpness of the TV isn't really good enough. Not as sharp. Leo thinks it's better to go the opposite direction and get the largest computer monitor he can afford and use it as a TV. Monitors are much sharper. Alienware makes a 55" monitor. But it really comes down to what he will use the computer for. Some, including JammerB in the chatroom, use a 4K LCD with a 120hz fresh rate, which can do the job. But they'll be more expensive than a monitor.
Steven wants to build a new computer. He wants to get an Intel 11700K, but he's a bit nervous because reviews are disappointing. Leo says it largely depends on what he's using it for. AMD may be a better option. The Ryzen 7 5800X is great if you can find it. The bigger challenge is going to be video cards. What Leo recommends is doing a virtual build through Dell. That way he'll have support in case something goes wrong.
Sue would like a recommendation for a new laptop. She recently bought a 15" Dell XPS and she didn't like it, so she sent it back. She couldn't hear the speakers. Leo says that laptop speakers are notoriously unimpressive. Sue would also like it to have a 17" screen. Leo adds that the HP Envy gets high marks as one of the best laptops for audio enthusiasts. And HP makes a 17" laptop. The 17" HP Envy starts at around $800. Leo usually recommends 16GB of RAM, which is plenty for everyday use. Also, get a 1 TB drive with it; makes it really nice.
Peter's wife is going to be working from home and they need a computer to access work and do online things like spreadsheets and powerpoints. Leo says that Microsoft Office has been moved to the web. And she can do it on just about any computer, including Chromebooks. But if she's more comfortable with a Windows machine, then Leo recommends Dell and Lenovo, or if she's on a budget, then ACER. HP also makes some attractive and affordable laptops. But avoid very low priced laptops. There's a false economy in that.
Brent has photographs in a whole bunch of different locations online and on his computer and wants to get them all together into a central location. He wants to get a desktop computer that can really help him to organize and back it up. Leo says that a good Windows computer is Dell. But really, desktop computers are a commodity. So it almost doesn't really matter what kind of computer to get. Leo would recommend Mac over Windows though, and a new 5K iMac is a good solution for this. Then buy Apple's iCloud storage for the backup. Or Dell and Microsoft One Drive.
Will is ready to buy a new Mac Mini with the M1 Apple Silicon processor. He wants to use it for photography. What monitor should he get? Leo says to avoid the Apple XDR display. It's just too damn expensive. The Mac Mini supports Thunderbolt and HDMI, so it can drive many models. Dell makes some really nice monitors for 200-300, but their UltraSharp line would be similar to Will's old iMac. You can get a 27" Dell UltraSharp for $359.
Paul uses an old computer as a server and it has about 1TB of hard drive storage for a non-profit he works at. But it's starting to slow down. Leo says that Paul should let a cloud-based solution handle all the heavy lifting. Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, DropBox. And if he needs more than just data, but a server that runs programs, then Microsoft Azure is a great choice. Leo also recommends using a Dell Desktop Server, rather than an old PC or laptop.
Laurie just needs a basic laptop for checking email, doing homework, surfing in the cloud. Leo says that if she doesn't need special software, a Chromebook is ideal. They are less expensive and more secure. But if she has to run a specific program, then she needs a Windows Machine for that. Then Leo recommends either the HP, Dell, or Lenovo. All three make solid machines and stand by them. HPs are thin and light with excellent battery life. If tough on the hardware, then the Lenovo Thinkpad is built like a tank. Dell is in the middle.
Paul has two Dell Laptops, one with an AMD and one with an Intel i5. Both run at the same speed of 2 GHz with 8GB of RAM and running Windows 10. But the download speeds are vastly different. Leo says that different WiFi chipsets could account for a 20% difference, but not the disparity that Paul is seeing. So something is wrong in the networking stack.